The Joker

I did Batman last weekend, but I couldn’t very well leave him without a Joker, could I? Translating the clown prince of crime into kimono was no small feat! I knew I wanted to keep the outfit relatively subtle and wearable, like I did with Batman, so I started with the colour scheme.

Purple and green are the Joker’s classic colours, and I pulled in the orange accents from Batman: The Animated Series, which remains my favourite screen adaptation. A big ridiculous orange flower seemed like the perfect accessory. Initially my plan was to use it as an obi decoration, but I preferred up on the collar, where it felt more like a lapel boutonnierere. I went with a plain white haneri as a nod to a white dress shirt you’d wear under a suit. Also, the outfit was colourful enough as-is and didn’t really need more oomph.

I think I did a good job of visually conveying the Joker in all his various incarnations. I’m actually quite proud of that, because as you may or may not know, I am utterly terrified of clowns. So you can imagine how creepy I tend to find the Joker! Oddly enough, harlequins don’t bother me at all, so I am actually very much looking forward to doing something for Harley Quinn! I’ve also got Catwoman and possibly Poison Ivy on the roster. If there’s any famous or infamous Gothamite you’d like to see, do let me know!

Items used in this coordination

Sweet Creamsicle Ikebana

During the summer, I really do try to work with flowers from the great outdoors but when I saw this marked-down bouquet at the grocery store I felt an overwhelming urge to rescue it. I realise that the flowers were dyed by tinting the water orange, but come on, they look like a creamsicle!

The bouquet was a little past due and a fair number of the flowers were beyond salvaging, but I managed to rescue the large spider mum and the carnations which were what drew me to the bundle in the first place. I didn’t have a lot of length to play with so I focused on a small, tight, rounded shape with a little height for drama.

The oranges and creamy peach tones got a bit lost against the backdrop but then I remembered I had this awesome shibori-like fabric which provides great contrast.

Overall, this might not be the most dramatic or stylish arrangement I’ve put together, but there’s something undeniably charming and happy about it, and we could all use a little more happiness in our lives right now.

Tropical Fire Ikebana

Tropical Fire Ikebana

I suspect you’re all probably quite tired of me complaining about winter, but I’m not done yet! Still cold and damp, still sick, and now they’re predicting half an inch of freezing rain overnight! I was very much in the mood for something reminiscent of the sweltering humidity of the tropics. The little flower counter at my local drugstore is not the place I’d expect to find birds of paradise or bright red waxy anthuriums, but lo and behold, they found me and called out to me.

The flowers are so bold and dramatic that I knew I wanted to do something big and sparse and sculptural. The beautiful blue vessel was a Christmas gift from my cousin and I love how it anchors everything, is reminiscent of water, and pulls out the hint of blue in the bird of paradise flower. I tried to arrange the anthurium to almost look like steps leading up to the stark angles of the bird of paradise, and attempted some fancy weaving of the palm leaves. It didn’t hold quite as well as I’d like, I clearly need more practice! The whole arrangement was perched dramatically onto this carved wooden stand that was my grandmother’s. I love the way it raises the whole piece up and elevates it to a work of art.

Spring can’t come soon enough! Aside from all my complaints about flu season and the cold and snow, I’m also eager to go back to working with seasonal flowers from my own garden and the great outdoors. There’s a forsythia bush in our yard that I never got the opportunity to work with last year, and I’ll be damned if I miss its blooms again this year!

Vaguely Reminiscent of a Turkey

Today is Thanksgiving in that big weird nation just south of me. Here in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October and it’s more of a generalised harvest festival than a celebration of any specific event involving settlers. It’s still a bit fraught, but it doesn’t have quite the same baggage attached to it. Last month, I posted a harvest-themed ikebana in honour of our celebration, but since the bulk of my readers and many of my friends and family are from the good ol’ US of A I thought it would be fun to do a thanksgiving themed outfit today.

I don’t really have anything with appropriate motifs, but then I remembered this gorgeous purple tsukesage with peacocks on it. The peacocks are quite abstracted, and if you squint, they totally look like turkeys, right? Humour me here.

Last time I coordinated this particular kimono I went for a very sleek monochrome look, so this time I wanted to do something a little more traditional. This orange and gold obi is an enormous nuisance to tie because it’s incredibly stiff, but it had a sort of festive harvest vibe to it which went well with the theme I was going for. The orange also pops very well against the rich plum of the kimono, I think. I kept the accessories in the same warm-toned range, leaning a bit more towards dark pink but still cohesive.

Unfortunately the weather is garbage today and the light in the living room was quite terrible, so these photos are overexposed in places and underexposed in others, but they still convey the mood I was going for.

If you are observing thanksgiving today, I hope you have a wonderful one. Spend time with your loved ones, eat far too much food, and take a moment to appreciate what you’ve got. Have a good long weekend!

Day lily Ikebana

The Japanese concept of mono no aware (物の哀れ), or the sense of beauty that comes from the awareness of the transience of all things, is most often exemplified by the beautiful but short-lived cherry blossom season. However, while I was going through our garden looking for inspiration recently, it struck me that these gorgeous fire-like day lily blooms are another flower that is perfectly suited the concept, having as short and vivid a lifespan as they do.

I wanted to balance the modern, sharp, nearly abstract shapes of the lilies with something much softer and more delicate, and the gentle sweeping lines of our grapevine seemed like the perfect contrast. I then chose a very organic and vintage-feeling container and paired it in turn with a clean-lined and almost harsh pedestal. I aimed to create an arrangement that seemed as timeless as it was fleeting, things with a sense of age framed against things that have existed only for a moment. I love how they come together to form both visual and emotional balance, something I am working on as I continue my journey into ikebana.